Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Grammy Awards

We don't watch the Grammys at Casa Minx. We listen to very little commercial music and don't really care about the Beyoncés and Rihanna's and especially not the Taylor Swifts of the world. Still, the red carpet portion of the program can be interesting. The clothes worn to the Grammys are usually quite a bit more outré than those worn to other awards ceremonies. And not always in a good way.

I think this year was not as fantastical as other years, but there's still a good selection of good, bad, and worse to critique.

All photos Getty Images.

Cyndi Lauper's cherub-printed Moschino suit has landed her on a few worst-dressed lists, but I love it on her. It's quirky, but not crazy, and it fits her perfectly.

Rita Ora was bringing back "old Hollywood glamour" in her black Ralph & Russo gown. I hate the deliberate "my roots are growing out" thing that so many people are doing with their hair, but sometimes it works. This isn't. But she's gorgeous otherwise.

Eve looked cool and classy in her Naeem Khan pantsuit, though it looks a bit heavy and uncomfortable to sit in. This look would be too much on most occasions, but perfect for the Grammys.

I loved Miley's Jean-Paul Gaultier catsuit. She looked both sexy and demure, even ladylike. Our little Miley is all growed up!

I haven't been able to find the designer of India Arie's shorts and duster combo, but I love it. It's bold, interesting, and in-your-face, without being tacky.

Though I have no idea who Kali Uchis, is, I kinda like her jumpsuit--just not on her. Bet Heidi Klum could have rocked it.

Instead, Heidi Klum chose this lingerie-inspired Ashi design. I can't say that she doesn't look good in it, but it's a little cheesy. It's the kind of thing a performer should be wearing--Rihanna, Gaga--not a guest. (Why does Heidi go to the Grammys anyway? She's no longer married to a musician.)

I have no idea who Mel'isa Morgan is, but clearly she wasn't able to get her dress tailored before the big day. It's far too long, and the bodice is gaping on the side. Was it off the rack?

Kelly Clarkson must be a huge fan of Downton Abbey, because her custom Christian Siriano gown makes her look like fucking Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, on her way to dinner.

Sarah Silverman is apparently wearing Maggie Marilyn, but I'm pretty sure she stole this look out of my closet, circa 1987. It was unflattering and unattractive then, too.

Surely Bebe Rexha bought this La Perla gown off the rack because it clearly Does. Not. Fit. Child, go up a size or two. You'll be more comfortable, and so will we.

Cardi B apparently got a few kudos for wearing this furry-looking high-low weird-ass neckline cape dress thingy by Ashi, but I don't get it.

Lena Dunham's ex-boyfriend Jack Antonoff took his sister Rachel Antonoff to the Grammys. Is she wearing what Lena would have worn? Why does it look like she's wearing a dentist's jacket under a pajama top, with boudoir slippers?

If Big Bird mated with a pinata, you'd get Pink's Armani Privé gown. It makes me want to hit her with a stick. And who dresses a little girl in GRAY? I mean, we don't need to see pink, but head to to gray is a little sad, like the poor thing got splashed in gutter water on her way home from ballet class.

Bleona Qereti is a hot mess. Does she think she's Cher, ca. 1986?

If you take mauve polyester drapes from the 80s, pair them with a Frederick's of Hollywood "Farmer Gal" basque, and add some beadazzling, you'll have Kimberly Schlapman's Raisa & Vanessa gown. I suppose it's supposed to have an ombré effect, but the top and bottom look like they belong to two different garments.

I've had enough, though there was plenty more to see at the Grammy's. I'm looking forward to the Oscars red carpet and hope it proves to be a palate cleanser.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas

If you're still stumped for holiday gifts for your foodie friends, please check out my RedBubble shop: The image above shows food-related patterns, all designed by me. They're not only available on dresses and leggings, t-shirts and miniskirts, but also scarves and household items like pillows, duvet covers, mugs, clocks, and more.

There are also several floral designs available in my shop--roses, daisies, waterlilies, mums, and more--if your giftee isn't into food so much.

Today is December 4th. If you order in the next couple of days, you'll definitely get things in time for Christmas. If you order today, you can get something for Hanukkah, but don't wait too long as that holiday is pretty early (12/12) this year.

Posted by theminx on
Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Project Runway Season 16 Finale

Do you want to know how much I love you guys? It's my birthday and I have a cold and I still got up early to get this recap done. Well, I got up early because it's hard to sleep while coughing, but still.

Well folks, we're finally there, the most important episode of the season--the last one. And it only took 46 short weeks to get here. Ok, it just felt like it took that much time, what with being annoyed by the Annoying Twins for more than half of them, then several weeks in a row when the Top Five finalists remained the Top Five because they were so good that the judges didn't have the heart to auf any of them until they absolutely had to. Now finally, in mid-November, we get to see the NY Fashion Week shows the designers presented in early September (although if you read this blog, you were able to see photos from the shows weeks ago).

The episode starts off with the designers entering the workroom to get the last bits of hemming and doo-dad-attachment done. Kentaro is chanting "cohesive" over and over again. He feels like he's already lost the competition, so he is free to do what he likes with his collection. However, he will try to work on cohesiveness a little. At the very least, he's getting rid of the white dress with the hairy tumor and replacing it with something less weird.

Margarita is resentful of the judges comments that her looks are too "Miami" and says that one can't the tropical out of the girl. She's also worried about her parents who are still in Puerto Rico which at the time was being clipped by Hurricane Irma. 

Meanwhile, Brandon is so confident in his collection and has so few things to do, he's stretched out on the couch in the lounge, snoring.

Tim comes in to give everyone (except for Brandon who obviously doesn't need one) a pep talk and advises them all to stay the course, 1000 points of light, etc. He tells Margarita not to undermine her integrity by dumbing down the tropical aspect of her collection. After Tim leaves, Margarita calls her parents to find they've lost power, but are doing their best to make it to NY to see her show. Their flight hasn't yet been cancelled, so they're hoping for the best. Margarita's mom is heard saying that they'll swim to NY if they have to. Personally, I'd have already left for NY and enjoyed a little vacay with my family for a few days, but then I love NY. Maybe Margarita's family doesn't? In any case, fingers are crossed that they'll make it to see their girl at Fashion Week.

The next day, Tim comes in and remarks that he hasn't had a "gather round" all season so it was time for one. He says he's proud of each of them, as well he should be. They are all talented designers, and this is going to be one of the best finale runway shows evarrrr (says the girl who's seen it weeks ago). The designers finish up last minute details before zipping their collections into black body bags and leaving the workroom for the final time.

The designers are up and at 'em at 3:30 am, clothed and made up, and ready to hit the runway. I'm not sure why they need to be up so early, as their show is usually the first of the day, scheduled at 8am in whatever venue is being used that year. (I miss Bryant Park.) We see backstage scenes of the typical controlled chaos of hair and makeup and last minute alterations. Tim tells Margarita that her parents flight was cancelled and they are currently doing the backstroke somewhere east of Delaware. He will keep her posted as to their progress. Drama! Ayana has a ruffle fall off one of her dresses. How that happens is a mystery, but maybe it had only been stapled on? More drama, however mild.

We see the venue is full of curious folks, from fashionistas to fashion bloggers, from former Project Runway contestants to minor celebrities. For some reason, the camera keeps landing on Carly Chaikin, the I, Robot actress who had judged earlier in the season. From what I can tell, she has all the emotional range of Kristen Stewart, but I'm only going by what I see on PR.

The judges enter the arena. Heidi is wearing something so short and sparkly even Barbie would be embarrassed. It looks to be made of many hundreds of purple foil Easter egg wrappers, but not enough wrappers to cover her boobs and legs. Sadly, gravity is affecting even Heidi Klum. The guest judge is Jessica Alba, who has not aged at all. I know she's only 36, but damn she looks so young.

Let the show begin! I love the way they splice in the designers so seamlessly to make them appear to talk to the audience and walk the runway after their models. Because Fashion Week happens so early in the show's airing, it's necessary for the PR show to be completely anonymous. The audience and the designers cannot appear on the runway at the same time. The magic of television, folks!

Margarita is first, introducing her collection as "A Fish Out of Water." I think it's dynamite. Jazzmine gives the audience a "wow look" by whipping off her skirt halfway through the walk. Her plus-sized beauty gets an ovation from many people in the crowd.

The Judges Say: so much energy/passion/color; it's joyous and spectacular. Zac is proud of her. It's fun/sexy/so Latina. Heidi says she's not Latina but may as well be as she loves everything. (Quite a change from last week's critique.) The beaded fish dresses were a lot of work that paid off. The only negative comment came from Nina, who thought the feathers were a bit much.

Brandon tells us his collection is called "Layers of Love." Oh jeez. I am going to gag. But I have to remember that he's only 24 and probably still collects Beanie Babies. His collection is predictably full of oversized button loops and tons of straps and loose strings. The shapes of the pieces are actually interesting in several cases, but the flamingo print is so omnipresent and really rather drab. My favorite thing about the whole collection is the penis on look 8, which I guess is a reminder that he's really a menswear designer.

The Judges Say: Flirty/romantic/cool. Zac thought it was a strong collection but it needed more variation. Brandon says that he was referring to collections that had piece after piece of similar looks, but the judges tell him that those were bigger collections, so while there were several looks in a row that were the same, there were also other looks that were different. In a 10-piece collection, one has to make sure that there's both cohesion and difference. Nevertheless, Brandon is called "an incredibly gifted designer" who gave his peers a run for their money. Liris, who did not look happy while walking down the runway, cries as she tells the judges that this "model diversity moment" means so much for "her community."  (As a fat person myself, I've never felt part of a community. But then I don't like people.)

Kentaro hasn't named his collection, but tells us it's inspired by a dead cat that he buried and who later sang to him his native Japan. It's quirky and striking and goes back to the stuff he was designing before Project Runway. The piece he composed is playing in the background, and the audience is so quiet, it's hard to tell if they're holding their breath or have all just gone to sleep.

The Judges Say: You know people love a collection when they're either noisy or quiet. Heidi says it was so quiet in the room that one could "hear a mouse fart." The collection blew Zac's socks off with the level of experimentation, textures, and color, though he wasn't into the two red dresses in a row. One would have been enough.

Finally, Ayana's "Evolution" documents her personal journey. I'm not sure how that works, but the collection goes from more athletic looks to pants to dresses and finally a gown. She's also put head scarves on several of the models, but ones that are somewhat more elaborate than those she herself normally wears. I really love this collection in photos, but less so when I see it walking down the runway. The first three looks especially don't walk well.

The Judges Say: They love her gown, think it is stunning. The looks are hip and seductive. Nina wanted to see more color. The tailoring is beautiful. Nina liked the skirt/pant combo (which is something Ayana herself wore during the show), and Heidi wasn't into the first three looks. They all love the distinctive headwear.

The judges do a little more nitpicking before choosing a winner. It seems that Nina is in favor of Brandon winning, because she keeps reminding the others that he has a real point of view, but I think overall his collection was disappointing in its sameness.

They call the designers back out on the runway. Margarita is auf'd first. When she goes back to the green room, she finds that her parents have finally made it to NY, though they had not been shown in the audience. Brandon is sent home next; he goes backstage and cries like a baby. Again, he's only 24. I think all of the various wins during the competition went to his head so he felt that he could not lose. And with that kind of thinking, it's possible to get lazy.

It was down to Ayana and Kentaro. I was pretty sure Ayana had the win in the bag, but surprise! Kentaro is declared the winner. Thank heavens. The whole season looked like one big fix for Brandon, but it seemed that the judges actually chose the winner on the merits of the final collection. Kentaro showed range, he showed growth, he showed himself. And he definitely deserved the win.

Now how does JC Penney translate his fabulous garments into a capsule collection to be sold on the cheap? 

This one's not so bad, I suppose, though it looks cheap and stiff. The tank has more modest straps and why is it black? The look definitely needs the belt.

This one is nothing like the original. The shirt looks sloppy, and what's going on with the crotch on those pants? WWMKS (What Would Michael Kors Say?) about the model's "polterwang?"

In any case, congratulations Kentaro!

Posted by theminx on Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Project Runway Season 16 Finale, Part One

Uh boy. I spent two hours of my precious time watching this episode last night and the only good thing that came of it was finding out that there is a new season of Project Runway All-Stars coming up. Two. Fucking. Hours. And for the bulk of the show we watched the designers wring their hands over which two looks they were going to send down the runway for judgement. I'm going to be really hot if next week's finale is also two hours long, because the runway show itself takes 15 minutes and who really cares about the minutiae that goes on between Zac and Nina and Heidi when they "deliberate" on who wins? It's clear to me at this point that the winner is going to be Brandon, even though he's going to send a collection of pastel jammies down the runway. There is zero tension in the show anymore, as far as who's gonna win? who's gonna be auf'd? is concerned. Gone are the days when winners were a big surprise, even if the win elicited a lot of head-scratching. I'm talking Chloe Dao, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Gretchen Jones. I could tell from the very first episodes of season 15 and season 14 that Erin Robertson and Ashley Nell Tipton were going to be the winners. Ok, so this season I felt that Brandon was going to be one of the first eliminated because he had not designed women's wear before, but by his second win, I was pretty sure that he was the favorite. I'm not saying he's not a good designer. He's fine. He has his POV. Don't know how many women over the age of 22 would wear his straps and buckles and not look a little silly though (my blog, my opinion). There were so many strong designers this season, so many that could win. If Brandon wins, I'll be very annoyed. #teamayana

So the Final Five, who have been the Final Five for about nine weeks now, meet on the runway set for one last time before dispersing to the four winds. Heidi and Tim come out from behind the scrim to tell them that each of them will be getting $10K to create their collections, but not all five of them will be moving on to Fashion Week. Translation: all will be showing, but only three are guaranteed eligibility to win the whole shooting match. (I know. A horrible term to use in this insane gun-happy day and age.) Saying "only three are guaranteed" doesn't necessarily mean that the other two are out. To help the judges pare down however many people are going to Fashion Week, each of the five remaining designers will first show two looks that represent their collection.

Now, me being a sensible person, I would have kept this in mind the whole time I was working on my collection. The two representative looks would be priority. They could actually be the glue that keeps the whole thing cohesive. But noooo...we have to see a good hour of the designers mixing and matching garments, making their models take things off and put other things on, until they find two looks that they want to send down the runway. But that comes later. First, Home Visits™.

The designers leave NY for home; five weeks later, Tim comes to check in on them. He starts off with Ayana in Salt Lake City. She seems a little down because she's quite a bit behind. Apparently while she was in NY filming the first 92 episodes of the season, her apartment got flooded by her upstairs neighbor's leaking waterbed or some such tragedy. Cleaning up took time away from sewing. Before Ayana takes Tim to the petri dish that is now her apartment, she introduces him to her mother and randomly, to her friend Jax. When he discovers that her mother, also named Ayana, popped out 11 children, Tim quips, "your mother's been busy." Maybe just a little.

Only two of Ayana's fully modest outfits, inspired by a trip to her hometown in upstate New York, were complete. For the most part, Tim liked what he saw.

Speaking of Tim, you may have noticed that he was sporting a ginormous bandaid on his forehead. Surely there were more fashionable ways to hide his boo-boo?

Let's go back to "fully modest" for a second. Ayana's outfits tend not to show any skin, or hair, but they can be extremely form-fitting, as do the clothes she herself wears. How modest is that really? How is the obvious curve of a breast or ass more modest than the exposure of an elbow or an ear? Just putting that out there, and I'm sure someone will attempt to explain it to me.

Rather than sticking to the West Coast homes of two of the other designers, editing has Tim travel back east to Atlanta to visit Kenya and her band of rowdy sisters, cousins, and aunts. Tim, sporting a smaller bandage, checks out her sand and sea-inspired collection first and says though he likes her silhouettes, her sandy palette is a "snooze-fest." He suggests that she add a deeply saturated color to give it a punch.

Tim says he wants her to win, and of course Kenya feels the same way. She feels Tim's suggestions have given her a second wind, so they retire to her uncle's lovely home. There they enjoy a soul food feast of goodies like macaroni and cheese and cornbread with Kenya's grandmother, mother, and various aunts. The ladies tell Tim they eat this way every week, and he'd lose his nice figure if he did. No doubt.

Editing takes us back to the West coast to visit Kentaro, whose collection was inspired by classical piano music. To use a musical term, there's some definite dissonance going on. Tim, once again sporting the large bandaid, thinks Kentaro's pieces appear to be from three different collections.

He suggests that Kentaro think of the collection as one sonata, not ten sonatas. But Kentaro doesn't want it to look cohesive. He doesn't want it to look like the same thing over and over, because he would get bored. Unlike his brother Brandon, who obviously doesn't share the same misgivings about repetition.

Kentaro then sits at the piano and plays a little ditty he's composed for his collection. He tells Tim that he was inspired by finding a dead cat in the road. After he buried the cat, he put his ear to the ground and that's what he heard. Not sure what dead cats have to do with his collection, but artists are weird. Tim, to his credit, doesn't roll his eyes or call the men in the white coats.

No sushi and ramen lunches for Tim, he's going waayyy east now to visit Margarita in Puerto Rico. Remember back when PR was still on Bravo and he had to drive from location to location in a Saturn Sky Roadster? He'd have some real problems doing that this season, unless he had a car that flew. Margarita and Tim walk through Old San Juan, which at the time was still beautiful and colorful and not devastated by hurricanes. She takes him to meet her parents...

...then to see her collection, which was inspired by her colorful childhood and the fun house in which she grew up. She created a pretty fun textile based on the patterns of her family's old sofa, but also some tacky-ass crochet fabric with brass rings woven into it, possibly inspired by one of her mother's 70s macrame experiments.

Tim tells her to jettison the hideous stuff because it looks cheap, and that her collection would be a "sinking ship" if she included it. She should take the girl off the beach and put her on the street, whatever that means. She might get hit by a car if she does that.

Finally Tim goes all the fuck back to California to meet Brandon and his girlfriend Dana for breakfast in the park. The big bandaid is back, so we know that Tim actually did all the west coast trips at the same time, which makes sense. But apparently not for Lifetime.

After yogurt and granola, Tim goes to see Brandon's collection at his studio at the awkwardly named Academy of Art University. Brandon's collection appears to be finished and every look includes a piece made from shower curtain fabric printed with pink flamingos. I shit you not. From a distance, it looks like twee baby flowers in pastel colors, but up close, it's worse. I guarantee the judges will climb over each other to compliment it. Girlfriend Dana is like me--she is not a fan of the print. In addition to the flamingo fabric, Brandon is using materials in other pastel hues, most notably an apricot leather which seems an insult to the animal it came from.

It all looks like children's pajamas that got caught in a parachute. I know some of you out there like it, or pretend you like it, or think you should like it because it makes you hip, but I. Don't. Get. It. Tim, predictably, loves it.

Back in NY, the designers reunite at their new shared apartment before heading off to the workroom. Comparing garments, we see Brandon and Kenya are using a similar palette, but while Tim was crazy about Brandon's, he thought Kenya's was a "snooze-fest." Hm. Tim comes in to remind everyone that they need to pick two looks, which he assists with. From what I could tell, he guides them to pick one good look and one somewhat batshit look. He then tells them not to overthink things before he leaves and the "muse models," aka the ones from the season, come in for their fitting.

After a lot of hemming and hawing and changing their minds about their two looks, the designers finally get to send their models for hair and makeup. This whole process wasted about 45 minutes of my precious time that could have been put to a better use. Like sleeping.

There are only three humans at the runway show, Zac, Nina, and Tim. Heidi has reverted to her natural form, a robot consisting of a giant monitor on wheels that is wheeled onto the runway in order to give the usual pre-show spiel/judge intro. She's in LA tending to something or another, possibly being groped by Harvey Weinstein, but promises to be in NY for the big show in two days. Models walk the runway. Time for the critique.

The judges ask each designer for their inspiration and why they chose the looks they sent down the runway. To their credit, nobody responded with, "uh, Tim told me to use this one."

Kenya had a major fit issue, particularly the black dress that threatened to let her model's girls loose. The looks were "luxe" but styling was a problem. Neither needed the extra cocoon of fabric worn on top. Personally, I'm not sure these two looks were the best choices to represent the entire collection. Actually, I am very sure they were not the best choices. They were unoffensive, but didn't leave me wanting more.

Heidi loved the ease of Ayana's garments, and the color palette. There was a nice juxtaposition of distressed and refined. Ayana was one of the ones going back and forth between the looks that Tim suggested and others that she liked. She stuck with Tim's picks, which ended up being a good idea.

One of Kentaro's looks, a white outfit that appeared to be sprouting a black tulle tumor, was "questionable," but the other was super-sophisticated and expensive-looking. Other comments suggested that he was trying to hard, and was too conceptual. Also, his clothes "have no soul." Ouch. He should have told them about the dead cat that played music to him from underground. The styling, with the harsh eyebrows, was a bit wackadoodle, and made the models look unattractive.

As expected, the judges were in ecstasy over Brandon's more feminine color palette. Surprisingly Zac spoke up about the top Brandon put on Liris, saying it looked sloppy, which it did. I thought it looked like something a baby should wear. The other look also was a bit juvenile to me. But again, I. Don't. Get. It.

Finally, Heidi thought Margarita's print was just on the cusp of being hideous, it was loud and out there...but she liked it. Heidi knows from hideous, as she wears enough of it herself. She loved the "bom-ber" jacket. There was no lack of exuberance and attitude in the two pieces, but Zac didn't like the shorts, which were a little floppy and sloppy-looking. Both looks were very "resort." It was suggested that she keep the collection in NY rather than on the islands, which echoed Tim's off the beach and on the street comment. Why is it that they want people to have a POV, but suggest they change it? Margarita is not from NY, she's from an island. I don't recall fellow island resident Anya sending anything other than colorfully-patterned sleeveless maxi dresses down the runway, yet she won. Such bullshit.

The judges ask each designer once again (they asked last week, too) why he or she should go to Fashion Week. Each gave his or her own particular reason, but Kentaro seemed lost. The critique made him unsure of his work, or at least unsure he should go on to the next step.

After sending the designers to cool their heels in the green room, the judges agree immediately that Brandon and Ayana should be going on in the competition. When the designers are brought back out, Heidi tells them that FOUR will be going on to Fashion Week. Kentaro and his unenthusiastic mumblings seemed the most likely to be eliminated along with his tulle tumor, but the only person not going forward was...Kenya.

Fuck that shit. I'm pissed.

Next week: another probably 2-hour time-waster to tell me that Brandon is the winner.

Posted by theminx on
Because of past content theft, I am forced to add this statement to the end of my posts: If you're reading this post anywhere other than the Opalescent blog, (also then this content has been stolen. Please do not support this thief!


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